avatar for Ruth Obel-Jorgensen

Ruth Obel-Jorgensen

Ruth studied psychology, social work and nonprofit management and leadership at California State University, Fresno (CSUF). Influenced by serving as a peer counselor and HIV/AIDS educator in high school, Ruth sought out to be a therapist only to have that direction shifted dramatically by Humanics– a nonprofit leadership and management program at CSUF. She switched gears from micro to macro and ultimately graduated with a Master of Social Work degree (MSW) and Humanics Certificate with an emphasis in community organizing and advocacy.

Ruth joined CalSAC in 2008 intrigued by the possibility of creating systems change from within through values-driven leadership and practices that advance educational, economic and racial equity. She held the position of program coordinator and program director before becoming the executive director in 2011. Ruth prides herself in fostering a strong organizational culture that leads with values, acts with integrity, and strives to be and cultivate equity-driven leaders – recognizing that the work we do in the out-of-school time field is part of a larger social justice movement. Ruth is the co-chair of the CA Department of Education Expanded Learning Division Workforce Advisory, co-chair of the CA Afterschool Network Leadership Team, and a member of the ASAPconnect Advisory. She also serves as the CA State Affilitate Leader of the National Afterschool Association, and is an alum of the LeaderSpring ED Fellowship and the CompassPoint Bright Spots Program.

Ruth calls the farmlands of the Central Valley home, where majority of her family still resides, while enjoying her current community in Oakland with her spouse and three dogs. In her spare time she contributes to Maven Youth, a nonprofit empowering queer youth through career exploration and technology.